Dealing With Discouragement

What is Discouragement?

To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit; to dishearten.

Three Stages of Discouragement:

1. Mild - minor problems which affect our emotions.

2. Strong - major problems that affect our spirits so others notice.

3. Disabling - overwhelming problems or pressures which drain us of spiritual, mental, emotional, and
physical strength. We lose desire, energy, or ability to go on.

Causes of Discouragement

- Lies from Satan.  He is an accuser and an opposer of God's people.  Fear, unbelief, bitterness, self-pity,
and condemnation are all based on Satan's lies.

•        The Root Cause -- not maintaining your Spiritual Armor

Ephesians 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of
righteousness;  
6:15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  
6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked.  
6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  
6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Specifically:

- putting down the shield of faith -
When we lose sight of God's ways or our resources in Christ, we remove our spiritual protection.
- neglecting the Sword of the Spirit -
When we are not reminded of His promises, we easily forget the truth and fall for the devil's lies.      

Discouragement can benefit you!

1.        It confirms our need for God

Psalms 103:14  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.  
103:15  As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.  
103:16  For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.  
103:17  But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his
righteousness unto children's children;

2.        It destroys our delight in temporal things -

Philippians 3:7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  
3:8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my
Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  
3:9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  
3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being
made conformable unto his death;  
3:11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  

3.        It destroys our confidence in the flesh -  our own human effort -

Romans 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  
7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into
captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  
7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

4.        Through our weakness His strength is made perfect -

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect
in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest
upon me.  
12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Overcoming Discouragement

1. Remove any guilt
Through repentance and confession.  Past failures can get you down. We must face them, confess them,
change our behavior, and trust in God's forgiveness.

2. Take up the shield of faith
Ephesians 6:16 "...taking up the shield of faith...to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one."
How? By Quoting God's truth when we recognize Satan's lies.

Satan's lie                                God's truth
God has left me.                        "I will never leave thee" Hebrews 13:5
No good will come from this.        "All things work together for good" Romans 8:28
People hurt me.                        "We wrestle not against flesh…" Ephesians 6:12
God is punishing me.                "For whom the Lord loveth…" Hebrews 12:6-11
I am weak.                                "My strength is made perfect…" 2 Cor 12:9

3. Encourage our hearts in the Lord
Satan will bring the strongest discouragement just before God fulfills our expectation. (Darkness before
the dawn.)
Galatians  6:9  "...we will reap if we faint not."
How to encourage your heart:  - meditate on God's Word.

i.e.        Discouraged by                                     Quote
Failure and sin                                Psalms 32, 51
Rejection by friends                        Psalms 35, 55
Slander against us                          Psalms 38, 59

Judges 20:22  And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in
array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day.

1 Samuel 30:6  And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul
of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged
himself in the LORD his God.        

4.  Get alone with God
You need personal time with God so He can speak to your heart - a time away from all distractions.

5. Get away from fearful people
A fearful person will spread his fear among others and make them fearful.

6. Read biographies of great Christians
Every person God has ever used mightily has gone through times of great struggle  and
discouragement.  You will find this in biblical examples and throughout Christian History.

7. Avoid making major decisions during times of discouragement
Satan will arrange for pressure to get us to make major decisions during times of discouragement when
we are not thinking clearly.
"Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light."

8. Let go of pride and confess your discouragement to trusted prayer partners
Don't try to act strong.  You need other people's prayers.  Humble yourself and God will give you more
grace.

9. Focus on God's reputation
Whose reputation are you concerned about - yours or God's.  If you are sure God has led you, you
needn't worry.  He will bring you through.  We too often worry about what people will think of us.  Put
your reputation aside and do what God says to do.  He can take care of His own reputation.

10. Focus on our position in Christ
- Consider what Christ endured in order to do God's will.

- Know your resources - because we are in Christ, we are able to enter into His victory over Satan.

11. Offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
Recall His blessings and thank Him for what He has done.
There is power in praise.  "God inhabits the praises of His people."

12. The principle of the birth, death, and resurrection of a vision
- God will give you a vision of what He wants done through us.

- He will allow us to experience the death of the vision (frustration in our efforts) in order to build
character in our lives.

- He will then fulfill the vision supernaturally through us.  We find strength and wisdom beyond
ourselves.

13. Discern how God can use  our problems or pressures for His good.
God takes us through adversity to bring about His purposes in our lives.  

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to [his] purpose.
8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that
he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Refer also to Joseph, Moses, etc.

"God  will never  use any man greatly until He has wounded Him severely."  A. W. Tozer

e.g. Jacob wounded while wrestling with the angel.  He became lame physically, but mighty spiritually.  
(His wound was directly related to his immediate problems.)